Exploring East End Development Potential

By Sally Miller

The East End Action Group (EEAG) of Sustainable Woodstock continues to work on projects to revitalize the East End area. When the group was formed in 2009, the goal was to see some enhancement and development of under-utilized properties in that area. The group decided to focus first on improving the Village owned riverside property. With progress on the park moving forward, the EEAG has returned to the original goal of economic development.

In 2016 the EEAG produced the East End Development Opportunities package for the Woodstock Economic Development Commission (EDC). That document synthesized extensive information vital to evaluating the feasibility of any residential or commercial development in that area and included detailed information on parcel sizes, site and natural features, utilities, known environmental issues, and zoning regulations.

East End Development Study prepared by GPI for the East End Action Group of Sustainable Woodstock and the Woodstock Economic Development Commission

East End Development Study prepared by GPI for the East End Action Group of Sustainable Woodstock and the Woodstock Economic Development Commission

The next phase was to understand development potential in this area by creating a conceptual plan with representative solutions that addressed various site restrictions as well as community needs. The goal was to produce an exploratory design that combined residential and commercial uses, preserved public open space, and honored Woodstock’s agrarian and railroad history while demonstrating realistic development options.

With additional funding from the EDC, Sustainable Woodstock hired Greenman-Pedersen, Inc. (GPI), a national planning and engineering firm with an office in White River Junction to help us take the next step. The East End Development Study focuses on three aspects: buildable allowances, conceptual designs, and traffic impact; it creates a neighborhood design and framework that also supports previous East End master plans. The design is a coherent vision that encompasses all of the East End properties currently on the market, plus selected abutting properties with development potential.

Carolyn Radisch, GPI Senior Transportation Planner, who managed the project says, “The revitalization of the East End Gateway area of Woodstock is an exciting opportunity for Woodstock! New uses and activities in this area will enhance the livability and the environmental, economic and social sustainability of the town.”

The illustrative development study plan was created to understand how the area may be redeveloped with new uses and activities under current zoning. It is not a development plan or a Master Plan, rather an exploration and visualization of redevelopment and revitalization of the area. The plan is intended to help understand the opportunity and issues in the area. It is a capacity study that explores how much commercial space and how many residential units could potentially be developed on the unused parcels while working within site, traffic and parking constraints. It is not a definitive design.

The objectives of the development study were to:

  • Create an attractive entrance to Woodstock Village that honors the railroad and agrarian heritage of the area.
  • Address community needs for new housing and commercial uses while complementing the riverfront park and river views.
  • Improve public access to, and enjoyment of, the river.
  • Improve pedestrian connections within the East End, along the river, and into Woodstock village.
  • Complement the historic architecture and businesses in the village.
  • Promote environmental stewardship of the East End.
  • Reflect site constraints and current zoning.

EDC member Charlie Kimbell sees that “there now is significant interest in redeveloping the East End and true engagement by the existing property owners. The work by GPI brings the possibility of redevelopment further along by presenting to the Woodstock community what it could really look like. It creates a picture of what is possible and gives the community the opportunity to debate it and also to invest in it.”

Sustainable Woodstock has an ongoing public outreach program to engage citizens of Woodstock and East End property owners to discuss community needs and aspirations for the area. This plan will help us visualize potential development. Download a detailed copy of the plan at sustainablewoodstock.org. It’s a large file.

Residents are encouraged to provide feedback and comments. For more information or to submit comments send an email to eastend@sustainablewoodstock.org

Just Do One Thing – Review the East End Development Study and send comments to the East End Action Group

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